Erdogan has warned Greece that 'Turkey has Political, Military Power to tear up immoral maps' in Mediterranean. Tensions between the two states escalated after Turkey initiated seismic surveys for energy resources in the disputed waters near Cyprus in aftermath of Israeli-Greece-Cyprus gas deal and deepening Libyan crisis. Both the Greek and Turkish militaries have been mobilised over the recent row sparking fears of an armed conflict.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cautioned Greece against turning down the idea of conducting talks on the ongoing eastern Mediterranean dispute, promising that otherwise, Athens will witness Ankara's determination to protect its interests in the region.

"They're either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or in the field with painful experiences", he said.

Erdogan went on to assure that Turkey possesses sufficient "political, economic, and military power" to "tear up the immoral maps and documents imposed" on the country, in an apparent reference to the lack of international recognition of its claims to patches of water off the Cypriot coast..

Turkey has repeatedly called on Greece to resolve the territorial dispute at the negotiating table to avoid the possibility of bloodshed and cautioned European states, specifically France, against meddling in what it sees as a bilateral issue. These calls, however, have had little effect as the countries have failed to agree on holding talks. At the same time, the nations' respective air forces have reported intercepting each other's jets since the renewal of the dispute in July 2020, further intensifying concerns that the standoff might escalate into an armed conflict.

Row in Eastern Mediterranean

The report about the possible redeployment of Turkish forces comes as the country is engaged in a row with Greece over disputed waters near Cyprus. This summer, Ankara renewed its efforts to find energy resources in an area of Cyprus' waters that it considers its exclusive economic zone. However, Athens opposes these claims and has mobilised military forces to stop Turkey's activities. Ankara has increased the level of readiness of its army, navy, and air force too.

The escalation of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean has sparked concerns that the situation could end in an armed conflict. Both countries have endorsed the idea of resolving the issue via dialogue, but an agreement to hold talks has not been reached so far. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced the start of technical talks between Greece and Turkey this week, but Athens has refused to engage until Ankara withdraws its warships and exploration vessel from the disputed waters. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cautioned Greece against turning down a peaceful resolution to the row, vowing "painful experiences" for Athens otherwise.

 

Turkey, Northern Cyprus to Hold Military Drills Amid Tensions in Mediterranean

Turkey and the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will hold annual five-day military exercises starting from Sunday amid Ankara-Athens tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

"The purpose of the exercise, which is planned every year, is to develop mutual training, cooperation and interoperability between the Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Command and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Security Forces Command," the ministry said, as quoted by the Daily Sabah newspaper.

Ground, air and naval forces will participate in military drills, according to the ministry.

The Turkish-Greek tensions escalated in August after Turkey's Oruc Reis research vessel began exploration drilling in the Greek-claimed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece considers this territory to be its exclusive economic zone, has mobilised its armed forces to high alert, and vowed to protect its sovereign rights by all necessary means. 

Both countries accuse each other of signing illegal deals on maritime rights with third countries.

NATO has called on its members to engage in a dialogue and Turkey has voiced support for the alliance’s initiative, while Greece has said that negotiations would be possible only after Turkish vessels would leave what Athens calls its continental shelf.

 

Greece Lambasts Turkish Media Reports About Ankara Deploying 40 Tanks Near Border as 'Propaganda'

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pressured Athens to resolve the bilateral row over claims to the waters off the shore of Cyprus through dialogue, warning of "painful experiences" for Greece otherwise.

Greek deputy minister to the prime minister and government spokesman Stelios Petsas has stated that Athens could not confirm the information that Turkish tanks are being redeployed to the country's border with Greece and suggested that it could be a "propaganda" stunt by Ankara.

According to a report by Turkey's Ihlas News Agency (INA), citing military sources, Ankara has started redeploying its forces currently stationed in the south-east, on the border with Syria, moving around 40 tanks to Edirne province, bordering Greece. The agency claimed that two convoys loaded with tanks had been dispatched from the southern Hatay province for that purpose.

At the same time, a conflicting report from Anadolu Agency (AA), citing an anonymous official, suggested that the tanks were not going to the Greek border. The redeployment of the armoured vehicles was reportedly pre-arranged some time ago and is not linked to the ongoing row between Athens and Ankara. Turkey’s Second Army, stationed in the province of Malatya, issued the order for redeployment, AA said, although it is not clear if these tanks will join the forces in the province or will go somewhere else.

The Turkish Defence Ministry has not commented on either of the conflicting reports.